The colourful state of Rajasthan plays Holi much the same way as
Mathura. A night before the full moon, crowds of people gather together and
light huge bonfires to burn the residual dried leaves and twigs of the
winter. People throw coloured water and powders (gulal and kumkum) at each
other and make merry. Singing, dancing and the traditional beats of dhol add
to the gaiety of the occasion.
Celebrations by Royals
On this day even the royals of Rajasthan don a festive spirit and mingle
with the commoners. Infact, royal courts all over North India have refined
the festival into an art. Rajput warriors of the Rajasthani courts used to
show off their equestrian skills during the festival. Even today, Rajput men
would ride their steeds through the white and pink clouds of colour,
throwing colour powders on each other. Even the members of the royal
families are not immune from being drenched by colour.
The Braj Festival is held in honour of Lord Krishna a few days before Holi,
in the month of March. The festival is marked by verve and zest. Villagers,
in gay, multi hued attire, can be seen singing and performing the raslila
depicting the immortal love-story of Radha and Krishna.
Folk Traditions in Rajasthan
Mali Holi :
The colourful festival of Holi is played in many
different ways. The 'mali' or gardener community of Rajasthan has a unique
style where the men colour the women with water and women retaliate by
hitting them with sticks or long pieces of cloth
Gair at Godaji:
Men from 12 villages collect at Godaji village near
Ajmer in Rajasthan to play gair a few days after holi. Each village brings
his own drummer and gair troupes. The picturesque location for it is a
valley surrounded by hills on all sides. Thousands of onlookers and close to
hundred players make a wonderful sight and a fond memory.
Dolchi Holi at Bikaner:
In Bikaner district, members of 'Harsh' and
'Vyas' communities have been celebrating Holi by throwing water at one
another with force for the past more than 300 years. A specially designed
vessel called 'dolchi' made from camel skin is used for the purpose. But the
water is thrown only at the back of an individual.